I’ve just been watching a programme about the social rules which gorillas follow. This made me think about the business rules I follow, and why.
Why we have rules
People (and gorillas) have rules about how they treat one another because society works better if we don’t go round murdering each other and stealing other gorillas’ wives/bananas. In business, we have rules for the same reason. As people do business with people they like, breaking these rules would mean that no one wants to play with you. And that means no customers, or suppliers, which leads to a lack of bananas in the bank.
Rules about money
- Pay your bills – if you can’t afford it, don’t commission it or buy it.
- Pay your bills on time – people love a prompt payer and hate anyone they have to chase.
- If you can’t pay on time, arrange this in advance. That way you’ll still have friends, even if you’re a little embarrassed to ask.
- Be courteous to everyone, even if they seem to be a bit boring. Maybe they’re just shy.
- When someone you’ve just met at a networking event gets in touch to say hi, take the time to say hello back.
- Do not attempt to sell anyone anything the first time you meet them, unless they’re obviously asking you to.
Don’t assume that everyone operates by the same set of rules as you do. See especially the first rule in the money section above.
If you’re going to say bad things about someone, think first about:
- Who you’re saying it to.
- Do you really mean it, or are you just momentarily annoyed?
If you’ve said you’re going to do something and you can’t then tell the people who are going to be affected by this as soon as you can. Don’t keep quiet; letting people down ultimately causes more sleepless nights than the minor embarrassment of saying you can’t make that meeting at 10:00.
Which rules would you add to these? Have you ever broken any of them?